The most beautiful forest in the world, Boucher Forest, Gatineau
October 7, 2020
This contribution from Marianne Strauss is part of Park People’s A Day at the Park series, exploring how city parks shape us. Be sure to check out all of the contributors throughout the summer months.
I have been involved in the protection of the Boucher Forest for 6 years now. For me, it was like love at first sight. I loved it right away and I love it, even more, today, if that’s even possible! I became the Treasurer of the Boucher Forest Foundation in 2014, before becoming its Executive Director in 2017.
The Boucher Forest is a 300-hectare forest in the heart of the city of Gatineau, Quebec. Its protection is a cause that is particularly dear to the hearts of the people of Gatineau. People care about it and want to protect it. So much so that half of its area will become the Boucher Forest Park in the coming months, a huge 155-hectare park that will be dedicated to nature education.
The future Boucher Forest Park also regularly makes the headlines in Gatineau. It is one of the few green spaces in the city that has made a name for itself in recent years. As soon as something is going on there, it’s in the papers, on the radio, on TV. I often had to speak about how we can protect it and enhance it in various forums. I used to share in my public engagements that the Boucher Forest was the most beautiful forest in the world. It makes people smile, every time. They think I’m exaggerating a little. I’m biased, I know that. The Boucher Forest is beautiful, of course, but objectively, it is not exceptional. There’s no spectacular lookout, no hilly areas, no swamp with turtles or ducks, no truly unique feature that would set it apart from any other urban park. Yet every time I come for a visit, I’m filled with admiration, emotions and amazement. I came to the conclusion that if I thought it was so beautiful, it’s simply because I know it and love it so much.
It’s certainly very commonplace to say that we like what we know, but it’s true. The Boucher Forest Park will always be the most beautiful forest in my eyes because it is close to my home, because I go there regularly and because I am lucky enough to bring my children there. That’s the reason why it’s so important for me to protect green spaces in urban settings. In addition to all the natural services they provide us with, they become part of our daily lives and a very important part of our lives. They contribute greatly to our mental and physical health. They are becoming absolutely essential for our personal happiness index.
Citizens who are connected to forests, wetlands or parks near their homes are the best advocates for their protection. The Boucher Forest Foundation is fortunate to count hundreds, if not thousands, of community members who have a real attachment to this immense forested area in the middle of the city. And I’m almost certain that they too think that the Boucher Forest is the most beautiful forest in the world.
About Marianne Strauss – Executive Director Fondation de la Forêt Boucher
Holder of a master’s degree in environment, Marianne Strauss started to care for the environment at a very young age: as the daughter of community leaders who successfully engaged their community and decisionmakers to protect the Ile Bizard Forest, in Montreal West-end. Living now in Aylmer with her family, she fell in love with the Boucher Forest and joined the Foundation to help with its preservation.
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This contribution from Marianne Strauss is part of Park People’s A Day at the Park series, exploring how city parks shape us. Be sure to check out all of the contributors throughout the summer months.Choose Another Park Story